La Ley 30 y la Represión del gobierno de Martinelli

Panama – Repression in Changuinola

With Catalina Guerra de Smith

“Mister President:

Repeal Law 30,”

Antonio Smith's widow demands


Following the July 8 massacre, in which soldiers opened fire on a demonstration leaving five dead and another 700 injured, President Martinelli granted 20-dollar study subsidies and provided housing to some of the widows of the dead workers as compensation for their loss. A day after Martinelli's cynical gesture, SIREL interviewed Catalina, wife of one of the workers murdered as he protested Law 30 on that dark day that must not be forgotten.


-How many children do you have?

-Nine children…


-How do you feel?

-I'm happy with the house they gave me. I now have a better house, but the most valuable thing I had was taken away from me. My husband wanted Law 30 repealed, so only when that law is repealed, will feel a little better. And if the law stands and the workers go out and demonstrate again, then I'm going to join them.


-Your husband opposed this law…

-He said it was a law that harmed workers, that it was a bad law for them. He wanted it repealed, and the President turned his back on him.


-How old was your husband Antonio?

-He was 37 years old. He was an activist who supported the President, campaigning for him, asking people to vote for him. He would often come home hungry after being out campaigning all day, and I had nothing but banana and coconut to feed him.


My husband would say that with Martinelli our lives would improve. But that’s not how it turned out. He believed in the President, that he would bring change, but not this law…


-How many years had you been married?

-Twenty years…


-Was he always a member of the Union?

-Yes. It was his passion, and he fought for workers rights.


-The President came to see you and you asked him to repeal the law, is that right?

-Yes. I asked him to repeal the law.


-What did he say to you?

-Nothing. He looked down and just stood there…

From Changuinola, Gerardo Iglesias


September 3, 2010





Photos: Gerardo Iglesias




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